Current DVD Collection Status

Movies: 246
Seasons of Various Television Shows: 27

Hey, everyone has their vices, right?

–Jer

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Joss Whedon Is Brilliant Again

Brilliant.

Watch it. Love it.

I’ll have the "Making the Dead Roll Over In Their Grave" special, with a side of "Attention-Whore" and a Tall Glass of "STFU." Hold the ashes.

Hey, all. So, I know I haven’t written here or updated in a while…this is due to a couple complications. My reviews at 411Mania are taking a lot of my time…if you haven’t checked them out, you should. I’m having a lot of fun with them. 🙂 Also, I’ve been trying very, VERY hard not to blog about the US Presidential race. For those who are long-time followers of my thoughts online, I get rather vehement around this time, and I thought it was probably best for my stress levels that I not.

However, that being said…I couldn’t help but post on this one. It’s too classic. First, from Friday, came the news that Converse was going to produce a shoe with pages from Nirvana frontman and grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain’s journals screened onto them. Yes, the man who hated celebrity and corporate America as much as anyone in the last twenty years or more gets his private thoughts plastered over people’s feet at $50-$65 a pop. Isn’t that AWESOME? I guess Courtney ran out of smack again…which is impressive, considering that just two months ago, she auctioned off all of her dead husband’s shit to Christie’s. But then, I guess when you’re as big of a crackwhore as Love is, you blow through it quickly.

People might think I’m being too harsh on poor Miss Love. I mean, obviously the woman has issues. No one can deny that. Maybe we should all just leave her alone? But clearly, not if we want her to let the Cobain name have any sort of legacy near what Kurt would have wanted. Every time this woman drops out of the news, she does something to leech off Kurt’s legacy and put her back in the papers. Hole, her band, wasn’t horrible, and her first album, Live Through This, was actually pretty good. But it wasn’t good enough for the fame she wanted…the fame she got when her husband died. And so she keeps going back to it, again…and again…and again. Whether it was licensing Kurt Cobain action figures, as well as his music for commercial ads, posing as the Virgin Mary with a Kurt look-alike as a dead Jesus, or executive producing the upcoming Universal Pictures film version of late husband’s life, it becomes increasingly clear that Courtney is set to turn Kurt Cobain into the money-making machine he never wanted to be in life.
Well, guess what? She’s at it again. From Spin.com:

Kurt Cobain is certainly in high demand: After his likeness was snatched by Dr. Martens, utilized by Converse, and his effects auctioned via Christie’s, an unidentified burglar has upped the ante, stealing the rocker’s remains from widow Courtney Love’s Los Angeles home.

According to an NME.com report (via News of the World), an unidentified robber entered Love’s Hollywood home and snatched clothing, jewelry, and Cobain’s ashes, which were kept in a “pink teddy bear-shaped bag along with a lock of his hair.”

“I can’t believe anyone would take Kurt’s ashes from me,” said Love. “I find it disgusting and right now I’m suicidal. If I don’t get them back I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Following Cobain’s 1994 death, portions of his ashes were spread near his Washington State home and at a New York Buddhist temple. The remaining ashes’ whereabouts were previously unknown by the public at large, and now, following the heist, are again lost to obscurity.

“They were all I had left of my husband,” Love told the Brit paper. “I used to take them everywhere with me just so I could feel Kurt was still with me. Now it feels like I have lost him all over again.”

Is it bad that my first thought was, “I wonder how much she got for them?”

I actually had a conversation with someone about this, and they likened the way Courtney was treated to Yoko Ono; people resent that Kurt died tragically, and sort of react overly venemously to her actions. Now, I’m not a huge Ono fan–frankly, if she never sang again, I’d be happy–but there is a huge, HUGE difference to me. Yoko, as much as a bitch as she can be, always showed respect for John and for John’s children. In fact, she is almost the opposite of Miss Celebrity Skin. Ono has a deathgrip on Lennon’s legacy and won’t let go; Courtney gets low on money and she hawks something new, or gives another interview talking about how many pills Kurt swallowed at X time or another, so clearly he was suicidal. While Julian and Sean Lennon grew up with their father’s public image being incredibly (some would argue overly) protected, Frances Bean Cobain…well. I shudder to think what she thinks of her father, the way her mom talks about him. Or what she thinks of her mother, for that matter.

And I will state, for the record, that it will not surprise me, one iota, if this is a publicity stunt by Love. In fact, I’d bet it is. And if it’s not…well, if his ashes were all you have left of your husband, maybe I should take a moment to point something out. You also have a daughter, who is as much of him as she is of you. You seem to forget that most of the time. Also, you might have more of him…IF YOU HADN’T AUCTIONED IT ALL AWAY!!!

So Courtney Love? Congratulations, you’ve earned the Ravyn’s Nest Image Award of the Day:

Your award is in the mail. Honest.

Now Playing: Nelly Furtado – Folklore – Build You Up

A New Gig For the Byrdy

So, something new’s a-brewing in the Nest.

One of the sites I visit, 411Mania, is an independent media site focusing on movies, music, wrestling, sports, MMA, gaming, and politics. Earlier this week, there were postings across the site advertising for open writer’s position. On a lark, I submitted my review I did for Into the Wild right here on the Nest. And what do you know…they liked it.

So, pursuant to that, you’re looking at the newest Film Reviewer for the Movies Section of 411Mania. Or, at least, you’re looking at his typing.

So yeah, I’m jazzed. Should be a fun gig, and writing reviews typically takes me all of a half-hour or so…and obviously, it’s not like it’s something I don’t do occasionally already. Just means more people get to see it.

If you’ve got a hankering to see what I think about movies, come check me out. My first review, for the MTV Films drama Stop-Loss, will be posted up on Monday, and I’ve got first appearances coming up in some of the regular columns like the April Movies Roundtable and Fact or Fiction. Hope to see you there!

–Jer

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Now Playing: Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral – Hurt

Mash-Up Mania Runnin’ Wild in the Nest

Just in case you weren’t totally positive that the pop music had degenerated into mindless drivel…I present to you the top 25 songs of 2007, in Mash-Up Form.

Track List, for those curious:

Irreplacable – Beyonce
Umbrella – Rihanna with Jay-z
The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani with Akon
Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fergie
Buy U A Drink – T-Pain With Young Joc
Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
I Wanna Love You – Akon with Snoop Dogg
Say It Right – Nelly Furtado
Glamorus – Fergie with Ludacris
Don’t Matter – Akon
Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne
Makes Me Wonder – Maroon 5
Party Like A Rockstar – Shop Boyz
Smack That – Akon With Eminem
This Is Why I’m Hot – Mims
It’s Not Over – Daughtry
The Way I Are – Timbaland with Keri Hilson
Fergalicious – Fergie
Crank Dat Soulja Boy – Soulja Boy Tell Em
Give It To Me – Timbaland with Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado
What Goes Around Comes Around – Justin Timberlake
Cupid’s Chokehold – Gym Class Heroes
With – Patrick Stump
How To Save A Life – The Fray
Home – Daughtry

Credit to DJ Earworm.  And by that, I mean, a LOT of credit.  I’m a fan of maybe 2 or 3 songs in here, but he managed to take 25 songs, most of which I don’t give a rat’s ass about, and make an actually enjoyable mash-up song with them.  It’s not his only good mash-up, either…the man is REALLY good at them.  You can find his website here: 

http://www.djearworm.com/

And in my sidebar.  Yay, new links!  I highly recommend checking him out.

 

–Jer

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Now Playing: DJ Earworm – http://www.djearworm.com – United State of Pop

Ravyn Reviews: Into The Wild

“The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.”

It’s not very often a film manages to utterly surprise me.  It’s even less often when it manages to utterly stun me.  Living in an age of cookie-cutter cinema and cut-and-dry, predictable blockbusters, it’s usually pretty easy for the knowledgeable movie-viewer to know exactly if he or she is going to like a film before it ever starts.  From high-budget, low-brain summer blockbusters to low-rent, high-quality “indie films,” there are very few surprises in the movie-making business.  This is not to say that the art is necessarily gone.  Simply that there’s only so much that is left to surprise anymore.

And then, you find a film like Into the Wild.  And you wind up surprised.

Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, the Sean Penn-written and -directed film was released with little hoopla into a handful of theaters in September of last year.  It made a modest $18 million dollars, which was enough to recoup it’s budget but not much else, and garnered some awards attention.  Still, it was a film easily missed, including an Best Supporting Actor Oscar Nomination for Hal Holbrook and a Golden Globe win for Best Song.  Despite the awards recognition, it was a film easily missed.  However, missing this truly does mean that you’re missing out on a great, amazing story of the human spirit.

McCandless (Emile Hirsch), the son of a NASA engineer and his business-partner wife, leaves college and proceeds to forsake Harvard Law School.  Instead, he give the remainding $24,000 of his college fund to charity, burns all the money in his wallet, destroys all his identification, and sets off on a trip to live in the wild, on his own, without telling anyone where he’s gone.  Along the way, while his dysfunctional family suffers at the loss, he shares life experiences with hippie-esque drifter Jan (Catherine Keener) and her boyfriend Rainey (Brian Dierker), works in South Dakota for a grain farmer Wayne (Vince Vaughn), discovers a bond in Southern California with retiree Ron Franz (Holbrook), and eventually makes his way to Alaska, where he spends four months in the Alaskan wilderness.  All of these experiences shape his life, and he leaves his mark on each of these people as much as they touch him.

Sean Penn has directed before, but never a film such as this.  With Into the Wild, Penn, who no one can argue is anything but an extraordinary actor, proves how deft he is as both a writer and a director.  He never takes the obvious or predictable road, never villainizing or invoking hero worship of any one character, even Christopher.  This is not a huge-budget movie, but under Penn’s touch and cinematographer Eric Gautier’s vision, the film has an epic feel.  It takes place in the parts of America that are far from the board rooms, the taxi routes, the “civilized” parts of the country, and the landscapes are truly beautiful and amazing.  It’s a credit to Penn’s vision that we’re able to see this.

If it’s Penn’s vision that brings the film to life, it’s Emile Hirsch’s truly amazing performance as Chris that brings the character to life.  Hirsch has quickly developed his reputation (in my mind) as the most underrated actor in his age bracket.  Shia LaBeouf may be getting all the big roles, but for my money, Hirsch is proving, with roles in such films as Lords of Dogtown and Alpha Dog that he’s a face of the future.  Christopher is his best role to date.  Hirsch invokes such a sympathy for the character, yet makes him fallible and all too human.  Christopher’s transformation throughout the film is breath-taking and a sight to behold, and it’s because of Hirsch that we’re treated to this.  If this film had failed, a large part of the blame would have fallen on Hirsch; and conversely, as it did succeed, he deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

The supporting cast is also great.  Catherine Keener as Jan takes on the mother role that Marcia Gay Harden’s Billie McCandless doesn’t provide until it’s too late.  Hal Holbrook, the deserving Best Supporting Actor Nominee, does likewise as a father, where William Hurt’s Walt McCandless fell short.  All four of these fine actors shine in their roles, and what are essentially smaller roles become multi-layered and complex, and even when you hate Walt and Billie, you feel for them.  And that makes them real.  Vince Vaughn is good as Wayne, though it’s a bit jarring to see him in a role like this, and is the only person in the cast who is unable to transcend his own persona for the role.

This is not a perfect film.  At 148 minutes, it does feel that long a couple of times.  It can also be argued as to be perhaps overly sympathetic; McCandless is not a particularly loved name in Alaska for several reasons, and I can’t find it in myself to disagree with some of them.  I think the largest sin this movie has is its very existance; the argument has been made that the idea of a film about McCandless’s life goes against everything the man himself stood for.  While this may or may not be true, it’s difficult to watch Vince Vaughn in a film where the very theme is about casting off that which binds you to your life, all the material possessions you own, and living freely.  Ultimately, this is a minor sin, because Into the Wild is not a film that was ever going to make big money.  Penn knew it, Hirsch knew it, everyone did.  This is a film with a message, a film with something to say.  And the ultimate theme of the movie, I think McCandless would agree with.  So while it’s not a perfect film, it is a film that stands on it’s own as one of the best, and most surprising, films of 2007.

“If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.”

True words.

–Jer

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Rest In Peace, Dungeon Master

Gary Gygax (the creater of Dungeons & Dragons, for those who are unaware) has died at the age of 69.

My geek heart is heavy over this. Personally, I remember when I first got into role-playing games…1982, at the age of six, I had a speech therapist in first grade…I was unable to pronounce S’s and R’s due to my tongue being attached to the bottom of my mouth by a flap of skin until I was four. My therapist taught me about Dungeons & Dragons…good ol’ basic, red-box D&D. Where “Elf” was a class, not a race….you could be an Elf or a Mage, but not both. Every time I pronounced an S or R wrong, my longsword-wielding Elf lost a hit point, and we played for an hour a week. Needless to say, I was hooked, and my pronunciation is good to this day.

Due to things like my early speech impediment, my glasses throughout my education, headgear from 2nd to 3rd grade, and rather unathletic demeanor in favor of academic persuits, I was pretty much the traditional nerd outcast. D&D gave me and my tiny group friends (including, of all things, a Baptist Minister’s kid) something to enjoy and socialize with. The hell with how badly we got creamed in touch football, wall-ball, and pull-ups in gym…when we got together, we were able to pretend to be mighty heroes. To those who say D&D invokes anti-social behavior and preys upon kids with low self-esteem, I say…fuck y’all, and get a clue.

Of course, as time moved on, I moved away from D&D, to things like Battletech, Call of Chtulhu, Paranoia, and the World of Darkness. I got tired of the hack-and-slash, module-gaming that really became inherent in D&D after Gygax was pushed out of it in 1985. But I’ve always held a special place in my heart for the original books, and I remember some of my greatest PC’s fondly. To this day, I still play in the D&D settings in a weekly Table-Top game (just not with D&D rules, which I find too convoluted).

Gary, my wizard’s hat is off to you. May you roll only 20’s in the afterlife, and never fail another saving throw again.

–Jer

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Now Playing: Tom Smith – The FuMP – Cat Macros

I’ll Watch Anything

So, this is what happens when a song gets stuck in my head after hearing it for the first time in forever…I start to parody it in my head. Sometimes, like today, I’m inspired to make a full song out of it. So…enjoy my nuttiness.

“I’ll Watch Anything”
By Jeremy Thomas
To the tune of “I’ll Do Anything” by Simple Plan

Another day on the picket line
While the writers stand up for their rights
But I sit here
And I’m still waiting

And I’m on my couch, this ain’t no fun
’cause so many shows didn’t get done
And now they’re gone
And I can’t watch them

So I sit here, I drink a beer, try to enjoy myself, yeah

I’ll watch anything
While the writers are on strike
I’ll watch whatever crap
The networks show to keep us pacified
I’ll watch anything
Even reality TV
But God, I hope that soon
Heroes gets it’s Volume 3

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sore
The scripters deserve what they’ve asked for
The studio heads
Are greedy bastards

But I’m going nuts with all this crap
How many damn game shows can they tap?
I don’t need to see
Singaporean Idol

This could be the one last straw, I can’t take it no more
This network junk, it’s really such a bore, yeah

But I’ll watch anything
While the writers are on strike
They try to make me laugh
But I’d rather deal with staph
I’ll watch anything
Leno’s so depressing now
Without his writing team–
Wait, he wasn’t funny anyhow…

I close my eyes
And wait for it to end
I close my eyes
It’s easier just to pretend
Nanana, nanana
’cause I want something new to view
Nanana, nanananaaaa

I’ll watch anything
While the writers march in line
To try to find a way
To force myself to pass the time
I’ll watch anything
Even Price is Right Primetime
But I want my Family Guy
And CSI

I’ll watch anything
Just bring my Office back
I’ll watch anything
24 is like my crack
I’ll watch anything
But what’s on now is whack
I’ll watch anything
Give me my House, that crazy quack…

Now Playing: Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls – I’d Do Anything

This Just In–Fred Phelps Is a Monster

Wow.  You know, I knew this was coming, but…ugh.

From our good old friends at the Westboro Baptist Church comes a statement on Heath Ledger:

Brokeback Mountain star – Heath Ledger – is dead. WBC will picket his funeral.

‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.’ Lev. 18:22. ‘For because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.’ Eph. 5:6.

Yes. WBC will picket this pervert’s funeral, in religious protest and warning: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” Gal. 6:7. Heath Ledger thought it was great fun defying God Almighty and his plain word; to wit: God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates the sordid, tacky bucket of slime seasoned with vomit known as ‘Brokeback Mountain’ – and He hates all persons having anything whatsovever to do with it.

Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his eternal sentence there – beside which, nothing else about Heath Ledger is relevant or consequential.

No, I’m not surprised that good old fucking Fred and the church will be picketing Heath’s funeral.  These are the people, in case you aren’t aware, who have been picketing soldier’s funerals because of the US’s “tolerance” of homosexuality.  They’ve picketed the memorials for Columbine, the Sago Mine disaster, and the Westroads Mall shooting, among others, and were going to picket the Virginia Tech Massacre memorials and the October 2006 Amish school shooting, but withdrew in exchange for an hour of radio time.  I could go on, but I’m not going to.  I’m not surprised, but I am sickened, as usual.  Phelps, die in a fucking fire.  No, seriously.  Please.  Walk into a fire and burn to death.  It’s the quickest way to Jesus.  God told me.  Seriously, we can do it together.

You go first.

–Jer

Now Playing: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits – Learning to Fly

Ledger Autopsy Inconclusive; TMZ & Other Gossip Sites Full Of Shit

Okay, so the second part of the title is my own thoughts and not real news…but hey, it’s not like TMZ reports real news, so turnabout’s fair play, right?

Anyway…from CNN.com, which is at least a less disreputable news source then Harvey Levin:

An autopsy Wednesday morning on actor Heath Ledger was inconclusive, and a cause-of-death determination will take 10 to 14 days, a medical examiner’s spokeswoman said.

The Academy Award-nominated actor was found dead Tuesday of a possible drug overdose in a Lower Manhattan apartment, the New York Police Department said. He was 28.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday that Ledger was found face down in a normal sleeping position and not at the foot of his bed, as had been previously reported.

Kelly said technicians collected a $20 bill found in the apartment for testing, because of the way it was folded.

Flowers, notes and a candle were left by mourning fans on the sidewalk outside the Soho apartment building.

“You did great work and I know your fans were looking forward to what more you had to offer,” read one note.

Ledger’s former girlfriend, actress Michelle Williams, who was shooting a movie in Sweden, was informed of his death late Tuesday night, a movie production company spokesman said.

Williams left early Wednesday morning with 2-year-old daughter Matilda Rose, the spokesman said. Ledger was the child’s father.

Ledger, Oscar-nominated for his role in “Brokeback Mountain,” was found by a housekeeper trying to wake him for an appointment with a masseuse, said police spokesman Paul Browne.

Browne later told reporters some prescription medications were found in the room, including sleeping pills. He said the pills were not “scattered around,” as had been reported.

No note was found, and there was no indication of foul play, Browne said.

“As previously reported.”  “As had been reported.”  Both of these facts were reported primarily by TMZ, which is a gossip site.  And I’ve been noticing something interesting with the Ledger death; almost everyone’s been going to TMZ or PerezHilton.com to get their news.  My initial thought goes something like this:

ARE YOU MOTHERFUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve made the occasional foray to TMZ or TheSuperficial.com while I’m bored at work.  Why?  Because I’m an admitted pop-culture freak, and I can usually get a chuckle out of something there.  But when I want real news?  I go to the BBC or Associated Press reports, or maybe CNN.  I don’t go to a place where they don’t even try to hide the fact that they’re posting sensationalist crap in order to get website hits.  I mean Jesus H. Christ, gimme a fuckin’ break.  Yes, TMZ sometimes gets something right.  When they’re reporting every gods-damned hour about whatever tiny little tidbit they can pull out of the traffic cop who was assigned to guard the front door, they’re bound to get SOMETHING right.

The latest news, of course, is that TMZ was reporting that drug packets and white powder on the $20 bill in question; information that reputable sources contradict.  Ahh, TMZ, always looking to smear someone’s reputation, even post-mortem, for a “headline.”

I guess you can’t expect any better from them, though.  After all, Harvey Levin, the scumbag legal reporter who famously nearly caused OJ Simpson’s murder case to get thrown out by inaccurately reporting that prosecutor Marcia Clark searched OJ’s home before a warrant was issued, is most known for such crap as Celebrity Justice.  And he was named 2007 Journalist of the Year by a media watchdog site called Tabloid Baby.  Sounds impressive, right?  Not when you realize Tabloid Baby’s rationale…

“Who did more damage to entertainment reporting in 2007 than Harvey Levin?… he and his gutter operation… almost singlehandedly transformed Hollywood entertainment reporting into a gutter-level street battle fueled by self-hatred, jealousy and anger, with no concern for what once determined greatness, excellence or fame…”

Yeah, that’s some great credentials, Harvey.  Asshat.  My TMZ-reading days are officially fucking over.

Oh, also…side note that pisses me off.  Who owns TMZ?  That’s right…Time-Warner/AOL.  The same people who own CNN.  Deplorable.

Shit like this really pisses me off; when someone’s dead, the last thing you should be doing is posting unfounded speculation about how they died.  Heath Ledger has family.  He has fans world-wide.  He has a DAUGHTER.  They don’t need to hear this shit.  I mean, yes, do I post snarky shit about Britney Spears & Amy Winehouse, Paris Hilton & Lindsey Lohan?  Of course.  But will I be pointing and laughing when they die?  Hell no.  Because in death, people deserve respect.

Except for Fred Phelps, but that’s a whole different bucket of worms.  I’m calling in sick and holding a fucking party the day Phelps kicks it.

–Jer

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Now Playing: Linkin Park – Meteora – Breaking The Habit

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